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Selling a Family Business – what you need to know

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It's estimated that over a quarter of UK GDP is generated by family businesses, and family firms employ 12.2 million people nationwide, amounting to 47% of all private sector employment. 

At BCMS – also, of course, a proudly owned family business – we estimate that 57% of all our clients are family businesses, featuring either multi-generation, sibling or husband-and-wife teams. Which made the decision to dedicate an entire webinar to Selling A Family Business an obvious choice!

The session went live in late February and is now available to view on demand, along with 16 other free-to-view webinars, each covering a key business sale topic. In a lively, round-table panel discussion, Anita Brightley-Hodges, chairman of Family Business Place, and Bob Goldsmith, CEO of BCMS North America took the big questions: How does it feel to sell family business? What are the challenges and outcomes? How do you handle the ‘sale conversation' with loved ones? What about legacy, business culture and the next generation?

I hosted the session, and I hope Bob and Anita will forgive me for saying that the most fascinating insights came from former BCMS client Andrew Sesemann, who successfully sold his long-standing family business – a company first established when Queen Victoria was on the throne. Andrew told his personal story – from the need to prove himself as a businessperson, to transforming the company from within, and, ultimately, his division to move on. 

If you're a family business owner, what Andrew has to say may change the way you feel about your business, and what your future may hold.

Is the next generation ready?

We ran a couple of audience polls during the session, and the results were intriguing: attendees were split right down the middle on inter-family succession, with 50% saying they would pass their company on to their children. When asked whether the next generation was ready to take over, the response was clearer: 68% answered ‘no'. 

What does this tell us about the current generation of family business owners? Do they stick, or do they twist? What are the options, and how do you start preparing for a potential sale?

You'll have to watch the session to find out!

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Mark Bentley's picture
Posted Feb 2019
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